While most of us were busy sobbing away at the dramatic conclusion to James Cameron’s iconic Titanic—an ending that you should all know by now—others debated whether or not Jack could have fit on the floating door that he so graciously gave up for Rose after the titular ship had crashed and sunk, opting instead to freeze to death in the water.
The legendary Avatar director felt the need to prove all the haters wrong, and he did just that by hiring a team of expert scientists to help him demonstrate it. Since the film’s release in 1997 and subsequent 3D re-release in 2012—because we totally needed to see it in 3D, right?—people have fought long and hard over the controversial demise of Titanic’s male love interest, with numerous individuals creating diagrams and memes they felt proved that Jack’s death was unnecessary. Understandably, netizens couldn’t quite forgive Cameron for plunging resident heartthrob Leonardo DiCaprio into the icy and frost-ridden waters.
In an interview with PostMedia, relayed by the Toronto Sun, Cameron claimed that his commissioning of a scientific study would “drive a stake through the heart of the debate once and for all.” The director elaborated on the experiment, saying: “We have since done a thorough forensic analysis with a hypothermia expert who reproduced the raft from the movie.” The study highlights the temperature of the water as main proof of the couple’s inability to both survive the ending.
Cameron went on to say: “We took two stunt people who were the same body mass of Kate and Leo and we put sensors all over them and inside them and we put them in ice water and tested to see whether they could have survived through a variety of methods. The answer was, there was no way they both could have survived. Only one could survive.”
The Oscar-winning director feverishly confessed that Jack’s character “needed to die, it’s like Romeo and Juliet.” Now, while he may have raised a good point against the internet’s dying need to dispute his artistic choices, it’s just too much fun to dig into.
In a long line of people nitpicking the ending, the science entertainment television programme Mythbusters famously recreated the scene back in 2017 and concluded that had Jack tied his life vest to the bottom of the raft, both parties could have survived—a take the director also refuted. In response to this, Cameron has argued that the hypothermia developing in Jack’s brain would not have allowed him the foresight to come up with such a seemingly obvious solution.
Jack’s possible survival is far from the wildest Titanic theory that exist among the internet rubble. Reddit users have me convinced with the amazing theory that Rose’s love interest is actually a devil-may-care time traveller sent back to keep her from jumping to her demise near the start of the film, thus ensuring the future timeline does not split into an alternate reality. Who knows what kind of wild unforeseen consequences may have occurred if the Titanic had completed its maiden voyage.
The Cameron-commissioned study is one element of the anticipatory lead-up to the February 2023 (re-)re-release of the classic, with the results set to debut on National Geographic. Given the director’s recent success with Avatar: The Way of Water, it seems as though he can’t quite quit his box office obsession.